Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 20, 2012
Behind every great company there is a great marketing plan, according to Dave Lavinsky, President and co-founder of Growthink, a leading entrepreneurial consulting firm that has been helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses since 1999.
Lavinsky has highlighted 14 key elements that, once fully addressed in a marketing plan, can “skyrocket” sales and “dominate the competition”:
1. Target Market/Target Customers
According to Lavinsky it is important to start by defining the target customer in as much detail as possible. “Your marketing plan must start with a detailed summary of who your target customers are and what their wants and needs are. Without this understanding, you can't speak directly to your customers,” Lavinsky said.
2. Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Having a strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is one of the most important elements of a marketing plan, according to Lavinsky.
“Your USP separates your product or service from your competitors. It makes your product or service a ‘unique, must have’ item.”
3. Pricing & Positioning Strategy
Lavinsky believes that a pricing strategy should clearly reflect the branding strategy.
“If you want to be known as the premium service provider, clearly your prices will be higher. Choose your pricing and positioning wisely, and make sure the two are tightly integrated.”
4. Distribution Plan
“Your distribution plan details how customers will buy from you,” says Lavinsky. “This includes buying your products and services from you directly, and also buying your products and services from retailers, distributors, value-added resellers, partners, etc.”
According to Lavinsky, the more distribution points a business has, the more customers it will attract.
5. Your Offers
Lavinsky believes that providing offers is an all too often neglected marketing strategy and should be utilized by businesses more.
“Good offers will drive more new customers to you, and also drive past customers back to you. There are five basic types of offers such as guarantee offers, and buy one get one free offers,” he said.
6. Marketing Materials
“The more marketing materials you are able to use to convey the value and consistency of your brand, the better you will do at attracting and securing customers,” says Lavinsky.
7. Promotions Strategy
“Your promotions strategy details how customers will learn about your company and your products and/or services. Promotions can range from classified ads to radio ads to billboards and more,” Lavinsky said.
“When developing your promotions strategy, consider how your target market acts and/or prefers to receive information. For example, if you target customers in rural areas, billboards may not be as effective as they would be in congested urban areas.”
8. Online Marketing Strategy
An online marketing strategy details how to find and secure new customers online. According to Lavinsky, there are four key components to an online marketing strategy: keyword strategy, search engine optimization strategy, paid online advertising strategy and social media strategy.
9. Conversion Strategy
“Your conversion strategy defines how you will increase your conversion rates, or the percentage of prospective customers who you interact with who end up buying from you,” says Lavinsky. “You should make sure you are always tracking, testing and improving your conversion rates.”
10. Joint Ventures & Partnerships
According to Lavinsky, “joint ventures and partnerships allow you to leverage other companies who serve customers that also want or need your products or services. The key is simply to find these partners and negotiate mutually beneficial agreements, which is often easier than most entrepreneurs think.”
11. Referral Strategy
“While partnerships and joint ventures leverage another company's customers, referrals leverage your own customers to get new business,” said Lavinsky.
“Referrals are simply asking existing customers to refer more customers. By setting up a formal referral system, you can systematically add many more new clients every month.”
12. Strategy for Increasing Transaction Prices
“While your primary goal each time you have a prospective customer is typically to close the sale, your secondary goal is to maximize the price of the sale, or the transaction price. There are 5 core ways to maximize your transaction prices such as offering up-sells and creating product/service bundles,” said Lavinsky.
13. Retention Strategy
Lavinsky highlights the importance of a retention strategy to keep customers.
“Successful entrepreneurs retain their customers and get them to buy from them again and again and again. This dramatically improves their profitability.”
14. Financial Projections
According to Lavinsky, the final key to a marketing plan is the financial projections.
“You need to establish financial projections to choose the marketing expenditures which will yield you the highest ROI, and to track and continue to improve your performance over time.”
In summary Lavinsky states how he believes entrepreneurs and business owners who create and follow formal marketing plans are much more successful than those who do not.
“They reap more sales and more profits. They grow faster. And they are able to enjoy more time off; since they have a systematic way of getting and serving new customers,” he said.
Growthink, Inc. is a leading provider of entrepreneurial consulting services. Growthink has also developed several training products and tools for entrepreneurs, including a marketing plan template, strategic plan template, and private placement memorandum template. To learn more about Growthink’s products and services, call 800-506-5728.